Italy to let hunters loose against ‘invasion’ of wild boars

Italy to let hunters loose against ‘invasion’ of wild boars

Italy’s ruling right-wing coalition is set to loosen hunting rules to deal with what the country’s farming lobby has called an “invasion” of wild boars.

The boars are common in the countryside, but have recently also been spotted in central parts of Rome, attracted by the Eternal City’s chronically overflowing rubbish skips.

In a change sponsored by the prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, the capture and culling of wild animals will be allowed in urban and protected areas.

Local and regional police officers, as well as national forest police and licensed private hunters may take part in the campaigns.

The measure is contained in an amendment to the draft 2023 budget, seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The budget is set to be approved before the end of the year.

The amendment also states that hunted wild animals may be eaten, provided that health authorities deem them safe for human consumption.

Farmers’ lobby Coldiretti welcomed the reform, saying it was badly needed “with Italy being invaded by 2.3m wild boars in cities and the countryside.”

The boars were getting “ever closer” to homes, schools and parks, destroy crops, attack farm animals and cause road accidents, the farming trade association’s president, Ettore Prandini, said.

A Brothers of Italy lawmaker, Francesco Michelotti, said only those motivated by “blind environmental ideology” or who lived in posh urban areas could oppose the measure.

The Green party leader, Angelo Bonelli, called it a sop to the hunting lobby and said it would breach the Italian constitution and EU nature conservation rules. “We will put up a fight in parliament, but we have a complaint ready for the European Union,” Bonelli said, adding he was sure that Brussels would take legal action against Italy.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 21 December 2022. Lead Image: A wild boar is trapped in a cage placed by park rangers as part of efforts to control their proliferation in Rome, Italy. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters.

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